Ornette Coleman: Sound Grammar (Sound Grammar)

 |   |  <1 min read

Ornette Coleman: Matador
Ornette Coleman: Sound Grammar (Sound Grammar)

The "Buy This Album" link here is to amazon.com because my guess is there are about four copies of this album in stores across New Zealand.

That's a pity -- and disappointing given it won Ornette Coleman a jazz Grammy earlier this year, and at the same time the 76-year old picked up a Lifetime Achievement honour.

Coleman -- only the second jazz musician to be awarded a Pulitzer Prize for Music incidentally -- has an ill-deserved reputation for making "difficult" music. But his admittedly daunting Free Jazz album came out 47 years ago (!) and in the past decade or so his music has had a joyous bounce to it, or a yearning bluesy quality.

Yes, he still works some unusual melodic changes and his band line-ups aren't quite what you might expect -- for this album he is back to a drummer (his son Denardo) and two bassists while he plays alto, trumpet and violin.

But it's a measure of the consistency of his unique musical vision that here he can go back to 1958 for Turnaround and about 15 years for Song X, yet they fit entirely within the context of his vibrant new tunes. Coleman's music has never been anything less than honest and considered, and often quite beautiful. Sound Grammar, recorded live in Germany in late 2005, is no exception.

But then again, Coleman is exceptional. 

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Jazz articles index

KEITH JARRETT'S THE MELODY AT NIGHT, WITH YOU (1999). Distilling genius

KEITH JARRETT'S THE MELODY AT NIGHT, WITH YOU (1999). Distilling genius

These days, Keith Jarrett gets as much space, sometimes more, in jazz encyclopaedias as the great saxophonist John Coltrane.  That irritates some people, it would be like Van Morrison... > Read more

MURRAY McNABB INTERVIEWED (1947-2013): The new man with the courage to make himself new

MURRAY McNABB INTERVIEWED (1947-2013): The new man with the courage to make himself new

The plan would have been timely: a concert acknowledging the half century he’d known and played in bands with drummer Frank Gibson. But then everything changed. “They gave me a year,... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

GUEST WRITER PATRICK SMITH tells of surviving the shits in far flung parts

GUEST WRITER PATRICK SMITH tells of surviving the shits in far flung parts

It’s not until you’ve lain miserably ill in some far-off outpost of underdevelopment that you really appreciate Western standards of healthcare and hygiene. Lying in a fleabag... > Read more

Bordeaux, France: Paradise and lunch

Bordeaux, France: Paradise and lunch

As I looked across the manicured box-hedge to the garden where peacocks ambled, and then on up the orderly rows of grape vines marching towards the 18th century chateau, the thought occurred to me:... > Read more